Golestan province

Coordinates: 37°20′N 55°09′E / 37.333°N 55.150°E / 37.333; 55.150
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Golestan province
استان گلستان
Gonbad-e Qavus tower
Location of Golestan province in Iran
Location of Golestan province in Iran
Coordinates: 37°20′N 55°09′E / 37.333°N 55.150°E / 37.333; 55.150
RegionRegion 1[1]
 • Governor-generalAli-Mohammad Zanganeh
 • MPs of Assembly of ExpertsSeyed Abdol Hadi Hosseini Shahroudi
Kazem Nourmofidi
 • Representative of the Supreme LeaderKazem Nourmofidi
 • Total20,367 km2 (7,864 sq mi)
 • Total1,868,819
 • Density92/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+03:30 (IRST)
Area code017
Main language(s)Persian Mazandarani
HDI (2017)0.778[5]
high · 20th

Golestan province (Persian: استان گلستان, (Golestân), Ostâne Golestân) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, located in the northeast of the country and southeast of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan, formerly called Esterabad until 1937. Golestan was split off from Mazandaran province in 1997.

The province was made a part of Region 1 upon the division of the provinces into 5 regions, solely for coordination and development purposes, on 22 June 2014.[1] Majority of its population are Sunni Muslims.[6][7]

At the 2006 census, the province's population was 1,593,055 in 379,354 households.[8] The following census in 2011 showed an increase in population to 1,777,014 in 482,842 households.[9] At the most recent census conducted in 2016, the population had risen to 1,868,819 in 550,249 households.[3]


Gulistan, Golestan, or Golastan translates to "gul-" meaning "flower" and "-stan" meaning "land" or "region." Golestan, therefore, literally means "land of flowers" in Iranian languages (e.g., Persian, Kurdish, and Mazandarani. This is a common toponym in countries with Persian linguistic roots (see Gulistan).

The capital of Gorgan derives its name from a wider region known historically as Gorgân (گرگان), Middle Persian Gurgān, and Old Persian Varkāna (in the Behistun Inscription) meaning "land of wolves".[10] This is also the root of the Ancient Greek Ὑρκανία (Hyrkanía) and Latin Hyrcania. Wild wolves are still found in Golestan.


Map of the Abbasid Caliphate showing Gorgan province, forerunner to modern-day Golestan province

Human settlements in this area date back to 10,000 BC. Evidence of the ancient city of Jorjan can still be seen near the current city of Gonbad-e Kavus. It was an important city of Persia located on the Silk Road.

Under the Achaemenid Iran, it seems to have been administered as a sub-province of Parthia and is not named separately in the provincial lists of Darius and Xerxes. The Hyrcanians, however, under the leadership of Megapanus, are mentioned by Herodotus[11] in his list of Xerxes' army during the invasion of Greece.[10]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Golestan province population history
Administrative Divisions 2006[8] 2011[9] 2016[3]
Aliabad County 123,923 132,757 140,709
Aqqala County 109,440 124,185 132,733
Azadshahr County 88,251 91,767 96,803
Bandar-e Gaz County 46,179 46,315 46,130
Galikash County1 59,975 63,173
Gomishan County2 63,447 68,773
Gonbad-e Kavus County 283,331 325,789 348,744
Gorgan County 393,887 462,455 480,541
Kalaleh County 149,857 110,473 117,319
Kordkuy County 67,427 70,244 71,270
Maraveh Tappeh County3 55,821 60,953
Minudasht County 126,676 75,659 75,483
Ramian County 81,866 85,324 86,210
Torkaman County 122,218 72,803 79,978
Total 1,593,055 1,777,014 1,868,819
1Separated from Minudasht County
2Separated from Torkaman County
3Separated from Kalaleh County


According to the 2016 census, 1,015,774 people (over 54% of the population of Golestan province) live in the following cities: Aliabad-e Katul 52,838, Anbar Olum 7,003, Aqqala 35,116, Azadshahr 43,760, Bandar Torkaman 53,970, Bandar-e Gaz 20,742, Daland 20,754, Faraqi 5,777, Fazelabad 19,461, Galikash 23,394, Gomishan 19,191, Gonbad-e Kavus 151,910, Gorgan 350,676, Incheh Borun 2,494, Jelin 7,417, Kalaleh 36,176, Khan Bebin 10,878, Kordkuy 39,881, Maraveh Tappeh 8,671, Mazraeh 4,009, Minudasht 30,085, Neginshahr 8,138, Now Deh Khanduz 2,989, Now Kandeh 6,650, Ramian 12,426, Sangdevin 4,203, Sarkhon Kalateh 7,589, Siminshahr 17,205, and Tatar-e Olya 4,782.[3]


Linguistic Map of Golestan province

In 2006, the Ministry of Education of Iran estimated the ethnic breakdown of the province to be:

The Mazandaranis who inhabit the foothills to Shah Pasand were subsumed under the rubric "Persian" by these official statistics.

The Persians/Mazandaranis are considered by nearly all inhabitants of the province to be "the old natives" while all others are considered ethnic immigrants in the past.

Most Mazandaranis live in Gorgan, Ali Abad, Kordkuy, Bandar-e Gaz and Gonbad-e Kavus. They speak Mazanderani language.[13][15][12][14][16]

The Turkmens reside in the north of the province, a plain called Turkmen Sahra. Since the 15th century, these formerly nomadic people have lived in this area, the main cities of which are Gonbad-e Kavus and Bandar Torkaman. Turkmens are Sunni Muslim. They form a sizable minority in cities such as Gorgan, Ali Abad, Kalaleh, and many eastern townships.

Azeris and the Qizilbash predate the Turkmen by centuries and have in time become completely Shia, and therefore, culturally associated with the Persians and other Shias.

The Sistani Persians and the Baluch are relatively recent arrivals and date back to the early 20th century. They are still arriving in the area in some numbers due to the lasting drought in their home areas of Sistan.

The people of Kordkuy are originally from the Kurdish areas of west Iran, Kermanshah and Kurdistan provinces. They belong to the Kord-rostami tribe and are also found in significant numbers in other cities like Gorgan and Bandare Gaz. Subtribes of the Kord-Rostami tribe are the Aghili and Sepanlou tribes.

Other ethnic groups such as Kazakhs, Khorasani Kurds, Georgians, and Armenians also reside in this area, and have preserved their traditions and rituals.

A small minority of followers of the Baháʼí faith also live in Golestan (in Shahpasand).[4][17][18]


The world's tallest brick structure of its kind, the Gonbad-e Qabus tower, stands in this province.

Climate and geography[edit]

Golestan enjoys mild weather and a temperate climate most of the year. Geographically, it is divided into two sections: The plains, and the mountains of the Alborz range. In the eastern Alborz section, the direction of the mountains faces northeast and gradually decreases in height. The highest point of the province is Shavar, with a height of 3,945 meters. Two of the main rivers are the Gharasu and Gorganrud.

Golestan National Park[edit]

Golestan National Park in northern Iran is faced with the construction of a road through the forest, allegedly for the ease of traffic for the villagers and woodmen but at the expense of losing the only national park in Iran throughout which a range of different climates (humidity near the Caspian Sea and desert farther south) is spread.

Golestan National Park is Iran's biggest national park which spans three provinces, Golestan, Mazandaran, and North Khorasan. Surprisingly, the authorities ignore repeated calls by experts to construct such roads around, instead of through, the forests, which in this way would no longer threaten animal and plant life.

Colleges and universities[edit]


  1. ^ a b "استان‌های کشور به ۵ منطقه تقسیم شدند". hamshahrionline.ir. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.sci.org.ir/content/userfiles/_sci_en/sci_en/sel/year85/f1/CS_01_4.HTM[permanent dead link] Iranian Statistical Yearbook 1385
  3. ^ a b c d "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 27. Archived from the original (Excel) on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  4. ^ a b "آشنایی با استان گلستان". hamshahrionline.ir. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ سال, سایت خبری تحلیلی شعار. "اقوام ساکن در استان گلستان". fa.
  7. ^ "Golestan". iranrahno.com. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 27. Archived from the original (Excel) on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1390 (2011)" (Excel). Iran Data Portal (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 27. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Gorgān". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  11. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 7.62
  12. ^ a b "زبان تبری". ahouraa.ir. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  13. ^ a b "GORGĀNI DIALECT – Encyclopaedia Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org.
  14. ^ a b میردیلمی، سیدضیاء، تاریخ کتول، ناشر مؤلف، ص ۲۸ و ۲۱.
  15. ^ احسن التّقاسیم فی معرفة الاقالیم، ص ۳۶۸
  16. ^ واژه‌نامه بزرگ تبری، گروه پدید آورندگان به سرپرستی: جهانگیر نصراشرفی و حیسن صمدی، سال 1377، جلد اول، ص 31
  17. ^ "Shodhganga : a reservoir of Indian theses @ INFLIBNET" (PDF). Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  18. ^ The Geography of Golestan Province, Educational Ministry of Iran, 2006
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 19 October 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Home". aliabadiau.ac.ir.

External links[edit]